Paul Ryan Answers The Donald Trump Question Everyone's Wondering About
Since Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared Donald Trump the party's presumptive nominee Tuesday night, members of the GOP establishment have responded to having a billionaire reality TV star as their man on the November ticket with, shall we say, mixed reactions. The giant elephant in the room (yes, pun intended) is whether Speaker of the House Paul Ryan will endorse Trump. In an interview that aired Thursday, Ryan told CNN's Jake Tapper "Well, to be perfectly candid, I'm just not ready to do so at this point."
"I hope to support our nominee," Ryan told Tapper, but he added, "At this point, I'm just not there right now ... We want a standard-bearer that bears our standards."
The Speaker of the House did not directly criticize Trump's nomination, but certainly revealed his disappointment that he would be leading the Republican party in the general election:
This is the party of Lincoln and Reagan and Jack Kemp. And we don't always nominate a Lincoln or a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- or Reagan-esque — that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.
The clear implication: Trump is not the Lincoln-esque or Reagan-esque man he wanted.
The former Republican vice presidential candidate was emphatic that he didn't want members of the GOP turning to the Democratic prospect. "No Republican should think about supporting Hillary Clinton, let me make that clear," Ryan said.
Near the end of the interview, Ryan downplayed the weightiness of his refusing to endorse Trump at this time: "I'm just a guy giving you my piece of mind." Yeah, sure, no big deal.